The first legend, and perhaps the best known, began in Rome, when the Emperor, Claudius II, was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. “Claudius the Cruel” as he was called, was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. So, he cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome!
The good Saint Valentine, who was a priest in Rome, in the year 269 A.D., together with his friend Saint Marius, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, he was sentenced to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.
But while in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been his jailor's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death on the 14th day of February, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed. Another legend says that Valentine's Day started ... in ancient Rome, on February 14th, a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. Then, the following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. In those days, the lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, on the eve of the festival of Lupercalia, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
St Valentine's Day was supposedly started in the time of the Roman Empire. In Ancient Rome, the date of February 14 was a holiday to honor the Queen of Roman Goddesses and Gods, Juno. Juno was known as the Goddess of women and marriage. The next day February 15 was the first day of the Festival known as the Feast of Lupercia.
On February 14 is was said that the young boys and girls of the villages would write down the names of every girl and place these names in a jar of which each young man would have to draw a name of a girl and this particular maiden would be their partner for the duration of the festival. Sometimes these parings would last a year and end up in marriage.
These rituals under the laws of Claudius were banned as the Emperor believed that the reasons why men would now go to war were because they did not want to leave their lovers or families. As a result all marriages and engagements were canceled as a result Saint Valentine a Roman priest was said to have married these couples in secret and for this he was executed on the 14th day of February.
While St Valentine was in jail it is said that he fell in love with the jailers’ daughter. By a miracle or some say by the prayers of Valentine she gained her sight and as a last farewell in a note he was to "From Your Valentine".
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Originally Valentine's Day was created in Ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno, Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Feast of Lupercalia started the next day.
During these times boys and girls were segregated. However, the young people had a custom that began on the eve of the Festival of Lupercalia. The girl's names were written on pieces of paper and inserted into jars. Each boy then drew a girl's name from the jar and they were partners throughout the Festival. After being paired, the children would often continue to see each other throughout the year and on occasion even fell in love and got married.
Emperor Claudius II of Rome, also known as Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time recruiting men as soldiers. He believed that the men did not want to leave their sweethearts and canceled all engagements and marriages throughout Rome. St. Valentine, a priest of Rome at the time, secretly married couples. He was eventually caught, arrested and condemned. He was beaten to death and beheaded on February 14th, around the year 270.
Lupercalia was a feast to a heathen God. Pastors and priests of the early Christian church did away with the pagan custom by replacing the names of the girls with the names of saints. They chose St. Valentine's Day as the day of celebration for the new feast.
Valentine Day greetings became popular during the middles ages. During that time period, lovers sang or spoke their sentiments. Paper and written Valentines became popular at the end of the 15th Century. The oldest Valentine that exists today was made during this era and is on display in the British Museum.